There’s something liberating in flagging an annoying marketing email as spam—that act gives you the power to ignore such messages in the future. However, on the flip side when you’re sending out your nonprofit newsletters, you cross your fingers that no one marks your emails as spam. Not only does this mean the recipient won’t receive your future messages, but it can also hurt your nonprofit’s ability to send email newsletters in general.
Despite the problems with spam, email marketing is still one of your nonprofit’s best bets for reaching your volunteers, donors and prospects. In fact, according to Econsultancy, three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent to good” ROI.
So how do you avoid having your nonprofit newsletters being flagged as spam?
Lisa, VP of Marketing at ArcStone, offers some best practices to avoid being put in the Promotions tab or marked as spam. If you avoid spammy email tactics and come from a more personal place, your nonprofit newsletter should be in the safe.
Be authentic: Write to donors and volunteers as you would a friend.
Instead of getting so caught up in your “audience” and sending your email out to so many people, write it as if you’re talking to a friend or supporter. If you look at your email as an outsider, does it feel salesy or conversational? If it doesn’t sound authentic, it’s likely it’ll come across that way to your email list and they’ll avoid your emails in the future.
Be clear: Tell them what you’re writing about in your subject line.
If you pull the “bait and switch” trick, you risk losing reader’s trust. Don’t rely on deception to get people to click on your email.
Be clever: Compel them to open your email.
Instead, take time to craft an email subject line that’s accurate AND clever. Here are some fun tools for generating a better subject line.
Be real: Find a real human from whom to send and sign your emails.
Even if people know your nonprofit’s email was sent out in bulk, they don’t want it to feel like it’s coming from a robot. Try to have someone from your nonprofit sign it or include your contact info in the email. If possible, give them someone to contact for questions and comments.
Don’t go crazy: Too many images or links can hurt your emails
Many email marketers attempt to make things stand out with several types of fonts and funky formatting, Not only will too many links and images cause each feature to lose power, emails full of these can come across as spam. Plus, with so many email servers out there, you can’t be quite sure if your formatting will register correctly.
Make it pretty: Use a well-designed email template
Similarly, switching up your formatting and not sticking to a template can cause your nonprofit to look inconsistent. It can be hard for your reader to navigate and process your email. To help them get the information they want as well as to align with your brand, have a professional design your email template and stick to it.
Avoid trigger keywords: Don’t rely on old tactics
When you think through how you process your own inbox, it’s likely there are certain words that immediately sound like sales to you. Make sure you avoid these overused phrases and are being original.
Keep unsubscribe available
In the end, like many pieces of your nonprofit marketing puzzle, it comes back to being authentic. If your readers identify with your nonprofit and feel as though your email communications are coming right from you, they won’t feel the need to flag your newsletter as spam.